Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 2

Well, that was a pretty good story, but why did Lakulisha give me dog-tags instead of just zapping me? Truly, I do not believe, nor did I then, that such a saint would do something so peculiar for no good reason. The reason was mine to contemplate, and contemplate it I did, for more years that I care to admit—how, after so may years of sadhana, could I be so dense! It was as plain as a pikestaff, but by trying to make sense of it (both ‘trying’ and ‘make sense’ being the operative words here), the answer to this puzzle remained illusive. But eventually my ignorance was resolved, so now I can move on, and tell you.

It is a good thing to be able to understand mysteries, especially mysteries that involve ourselves and the things in our own lives that are important to us. It is my sadhana that is most important to me, but perhaps there are other things more important to you. Still, we both surely have one thing in common: the importance of our own selves! It is for this reason I thought you might like to be in on how my mystery unravelled, as this process is useful for many other things in life, such as sorting out the meanings of dreams and other mysterious circumstances.

The first step is to ask yourself what a thing is and what it signifies. For instance, consider what dog-tags are and what purpose they serve. (At this point you may want to reread Part One of this story, especially if you don’t remember what dog-tags are.) The answer is:


Dog-tags serve the purpose of identifying the wearer. For many years I was comfortable with the realization that I was not a body, not a mind, not a personality, not feelings, actions or anything else my mind would have me believe; I was comfortable not being identified with any of these. But there was still a piece missing. I had been aware of this, but I had not found that piece. Now I can tell you what it was:


The same word again (remember, there were two dog-tags), but with a different application altogether. There are always two dog-tags in a soldier’s kit. This is also the case for you and I. Our problem is that we are only inclined to notice one of them. If you are missing one, it is probably the same one I was missing.

De-identifying with what you are not is only the beginning. This will not serve you until you fill the gap with something else—you will either become self-deluded that you are enlightened, or you will be haunted by this sense of something being missing. This realization will leave a hole as big as the cosmos itself if you don’t identify with something else. But identify with what?

Cease to identify with Creation and identify with the Creator. 

It hadn’t occurred to me that the key wasn’t in de-identifying with what you are not (the first dog-tag). The key was to be found in what one identifies with (the second dog-tag).

Cease to identify with “stuff” and identify with its Source.

Living in Truth is not about being true to yourself, it’s about being your True Self. This begins with seeing your Self. I know that sounds strange (and yes, here comes another story), but in the realms of Spirit, things are often not consistent with what we like to think of as “reality”. In fact, they can be downright opposed to it, illogical, and not make any sense at all.

In my early days of meditating, I found myself crossing a bridge (how symbolic!), and having crossed the bridge to the other side, I noticed someone lying on the ground. She was smiling sweetly and naked as a jaybird, lying on her side, left side up. As I came closer, I observed two things in particular: She was enveloped in divine bliss, and she was me.

Me? How could this be? If she were me, then who was this “me” doing the looking? Yet I knew without so much as a smidgen of doubt that she was my very Self. Which presented another puzzle: What is this form of her’s? Why is there a form at all? And if she is me, why am I thinking of her as “her” as if she were other than me?

The experience was a wonderous joy, but remained a mystery for some time. I later learned about the five koshas (sheaths), which are what you might call five bodies, or five subtle forms. My “Self” had been wearing the ananda kosha (bliss body), the subtlest of the five.

This is what yoga (union) is all about: the union of the self with the Self. That is one way to put it. Union of you with Absolute God is another way, which isn’t really a different statement, but this is actually already a done deal (realizing it is the trick). Union of the self with the Self is more to the point.

This brings me to the conclusion of my story(s). I promised that learning the purpose of the two dog-tags would be enlightening. I meant that in more ways than one (as I often do). I hope you found it so.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma


Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 1

I have decided to tell you a little story. The memory of a very special event that took place many years ago during a difficult time in my life, entered my awareness this morning in meditation. I have not shared this story with more than two people, but this morning I felt moved to tell it to you.

It happened during my morning meditation many years ago. I had begun remembering Lakulisha and the amazing experiences I had had that caused me to think of him as a “heart magnet”, for that he is indeed: His love is literally magnetic, drawing you to him in waves of joy so intense that you stumble over your own feet (if you happen to be on them). The memory of him brought about this same feeling of being drawn to him. It became so strong it was as if he were in the room with me, and I began to imagine that I could feel his presence, and couldn’t resist the urge to look. And to my astonishment, there he was, just coming out of my closet!

He was dressed in nothing but a ragged old loin cloth, looking like a bedraggled sadhu, and smiling widely. He was so solid, so “real”, that at first I thought, Who is this begger? Who do I know in this part of the world who looks like that who would be in my house, much less in my meditation room?

He was carrying something in his hand that I assumed was a begging bowl, so I went to him to pranam. We spoke briefly and I began to realize who he really was. I was stunned. His grin got wider.

In his hand I saw that he held not a begging bowl, but something that I couldn’t make out. He opened his hand and there were two dog-tags on a long chain, the kind of dog-tags soldiers wear so that when bodies are recovered from the battlefield they can be identified. I thought this was strange (mala beads would have made more sense). It was certainly unexpected. He held them out to me as a gift, which I gratefully, but uncomprehendingly, accepted.

He told me that one the two tags was very special and that I should open it. Well, I’d never heard of dog-tags that could be opened, but who was I do question; after all, I was talking to Lakulisha! So I tried to open one of them but couldn’t figure out how to do it. He said, no, that one didn’t open and to open the other one. So I tried the other dog-tag, and sure enough, it easily slid open. What happened next is the heart of my story:

From the opened dog-tag there emitted a light by which I was instantly encompassed, a light like that of the White Swami** (could Lakulisha have been the White Swami???) and bearing the same characteristics:

“There was simultaneously everything and nothing, an unimaginable light more brilliant than I could ever describe, timelessness, and though there was nothing physical about it, no sensation as we know it, I had a sense of floating. There was no thought, no memory, nothing left to want. Everything was perfect just as it was.” **

Well, that’s a pretty good story, but why did Lakulisha give me dog-tags? Why not just zap me and be done with it? This is the subject of the next installment, Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 2, so please be sure not to miss it. I think you will find it enlightening. (I will try not to keep you waiting a whole week.)

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma

** You can find this and the story of The White Swami in Living the Mysteries.

Pashupat Sutras V

This is the last chapter. Read my own conclusions on these sutras over the next two weeks.

The Teachings of the Immortal, Lord Lakulisha,
Twenty-Eighth Incarnation of Lord Shiva.

PPS Warning

V:1    Having no attachments, free from ties, independent and without obstacles

V:2    One who has become united with God (the yogi or yogini)

V:3    One’s own eternal Self (or soul)

V:4    Ever-existent and unborn

V:5    Is friendly and kind

V:6    Well-born, learned and wise

V:7    With mastery over the senses

V:8    Rudra (another name of Shiva) distinctly taught this

V:9    Reside in a secret place in a vacant house

V:10    A constant player

V:11    Mastery over the power of the senses is acquired

V:12    When thus engaged continually for six months

V:13    Most everything is accomplished

V:14    Beg alms

V:15    Accept meals that come to the vessel (begging bowl)

V:16    Take meat that is unspoiled with salt

V:17    Drink water afterwards (or otherwise)

V:18    Live like a cow or like a deer would live

V:19    Remain clean with the use of water (as opposed to ash-bath)

V:20    (Thus) the successful yogi or yogini is not associated with action or downfall (or loss or error)

V:21    Sing a song of praise from the soul, assiduously remembering the Beloved

V:22    To That Person, to God the Benevolent, or to both (as the result is the same)

V:23    Thus, yoga, union with God, begins

V:24    Omkara, the sound of OM, heard spontaneously in deepest meditation, is God

V:25    Concentration (of prana) is in the heart (or core)

V:26    Eternal, ever-present, all-pervading Supreme God, is directly perceptible and knowable as Omkara

V:27    (Omkara is) pure sound, formless God, beyond the range of the mind

V:28    (Omkara is) Supreme God, unlimited, unequaled, guru of the guru

V:29    [missing]

V:30    Abiding in a cremation ground

V:31    One’s dharma (merit) acquired

V:32    Living dependent upon what is available or what can be found or obtained

V:33    Finding direct contact with God

V:34    Constantly remembering God

V:35    One cuts through the root of the network of causes that produce defects (disease, anger, fear, attachment, desire, delusion, injury, etc.)

V:36    By means of buddhi (discrimination, discernment)

V:37    With full consciousness (noticing, observing, reflecting)

V:38    Remaining fixed on God

V:39    The mind securely fixed only on God becomes peaceful and free of sorrow

V:40    Careful to maintain this state, one gets to the end of sorrows by the grace of God


V:41    Now think these thoughts like a chant or a prayer done softly:

V:42    God, Master of all branches of learning

V:43    God of all beings

V:44    Creator of all creation

V:45    Let me be one with Shiva the Beneficent

V:46    Permanently

V:47    Shiva

God the Beneficent ends all sorrows permanently.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

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Pashupat Sutras IV

The restraint of keeping mystical teachings secret reveals the Eternal.  

The Teachings of the Immortal, Lord Lakulisha,
Twenty-Eighth Incarnation of Lord Shiva.

PPS Warning

IV:1    Concealed knowledge is the tapas that illuminates the Infinite

Keeping knowledge of the mysteries hidden is a tapas because the restraint of keeping silent when one would rather shout it from the rooftops, burns inside. This burning is a purifier that works like the process of separating gold from dross.

Tapas, from tap, ‘to heat, burn, melt’.

IV:2    Conceal practices     

‘Practices’ refers to ash-bath, laughter, song, dance, etc. (chapter one). One should maintain complete privacy for these practices (sadhana).

IV:3    Do not speak about this means of purification, but keep it secret

One must also not reveal the nature of one’s practice by talking about it to others. Display of knowledge lends itself to receiving praise and negates merit.

IV:4    All doors closed

All doors should be kept closed. The apparent meaning of this sutra is that, during meditation, all doors should be kept closed. But the word for ‘doors’ also means ‘gate, entrance, passage, opening, way, means, medium’ — all means of one’s spiritual success should be kept hidden; all entrances into the sadhana should be closed.

This sutra could also be interpreted as a reference to pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses via the five ‘gates’).

IV:5    By means of discrimination

One keeps all knowledge of sadhana, and the workings of sadhana, hidden by means of buddhi (intellect, discrimination). This sutra is telling us that disclosure of this knowledge is determined according to injunction and is otherwise kept hidden.

IV:6    In the world, go about like a madman

When you are out and about, go about mindlessly (this comes easily). By this means you keep your sadhana hidden. People will just think that you are crazy.

IV:7    Accept food prepared and given by others

The term ‘food’ is meant convey ‘livelihood’ in general, as well as food. Because you do not work for a living and accept food prepared and given by others, people think you are just using sadhana as an excuse for not having employment and getting others to do everything for you.

IV:8    People will think you are stupid and lazy

This makes you appear to others to be a lazy person, mindless and foolish, and they will not recognize you as a yogi or yogini.

IV:9    Abandonment of pride in this situation is the highest practice

People will have these wrong opinions about you.

These handed-down teachings are for the purpose of restraining indignant and angry behaviors and abandoning pride, and are considered the highest teachings of Pashupat Shaivism.

The remaining sutras are self-explanatory.

IV:10    Moreover, in a past age, Indra, lord of the gods, desirous of the attainment of purification, prosperity, and the end of sorrow, was the first of the gods to practice the Pashupata code among the asuras [those in opposition to the gods (devas – gods, players)].

IV:11    [As a result] Indra received their merits without the use of oblations [good deeds] or mantras.

IV:12    Righteous acts of false impressions done well result in the same [merit that Indra received].

IV:13    From this [practice], the censure of others amounts to nothing.

IV:14    [So] go about allowing yourself to be insulted and obtaining merit.

IV:15    Such actions are blameless and praiseworthy actions.

IV:16    [Among] all [other ways] this way is different and preeminent.

IV:17    It is a true way because it leads to liberation.

IV:18    Other ways are inadequate for this purpose.

IV:19    By this blameless path, the prescribed means of the code of Pashupati, union with God is imminent.

IV:20    And by this path no lover of God ever returns to this world.

Ending Prayer

IV:21    Now think these thoughts like a chant or a prayer done softly:

IV:22    I want to know that All-Knowing One,

IV:23    To become absorbed in that Great Player,

IV:24    Please God, get that to happen.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

__||   Apply for Remote Shaktipat Diksha

__||   Learn Ten Keys to Success for guaranteed success. An online course, free to my blog Followers.

__||   Have a look at Living the Mysteries, the spiritual journey of Durga Ma, compiled by Dr Terry Preston. Includes photos and writings from the notebooks of Durga Ma. Kindle version .99 cents. Also available in hard copy through Amazon at

Pashupata Sutram III:20-26

True prayer is the surrender of oneself to God. True surrender is not limited to talking to God, but includes all spontaneous actions of the body, mind and feelings (kriya).

The Teachings of the Immortal, Lord Lakulisha,
Twenty-Eighth Incarnation of Lord Shiva.

PPS Warning

III:20    Now think these thoughts like a chant or a prayer done softly:
III:21    To the mild and gracious forms of God,

Because God is the Cause of all things, God has many forms according to the nature of the cause. Here, God is the mild and gracious Authority over innumerable bodies, the source of pleasure.

III:22    To the terrible forms of God that cause fear,

On the other hand, God is also not mild and gracious, but scary. The idea that God causes us to experience fear is something that we tend to resist. How can we surrender to a God that is scary? Why is God scary? God is scary because we resist God. It is the resistance that produces the fear. Because all that is is God, this is God being scary. A resolution presents itself here: don’t resist, surrender.

III:23    And to other, more terrible illusion-forming forms of God that cause fear,

We surrender to God even though it is God that is the cause of illusion for individual beings. Though we are looking for liberation, to get there we have to surrender to the Cause of illusion!

All there is is God—there isn’t anything else. So when we surrender to God, everything is included. If your sadhana gets stuck in the sand, it may be that you are omitting certain aspects of God from your surrender, like the scary stuff. Things will get better as you gradually take more apparent risks. I say “apparent” because there really is no risk. As Yogeshwar so often said, “God is not a cheat”.

III:24    To the innumerable forms of God, the cause of all forms that are the cause fear.

“The innumerable forms of God” are all of Us. We like to think of God as awesome rather than scary. It makes us feel better. God is scary because God includes all of us, and we are definitely scary—we are the cause of fear. We are scary as human beings, and we are even scary as divine individuals because we are not familiar with each other—with Truth, God, or even with our Selves—and the unfamiliar can be very scary.

III:25    To the innumerable mortal forms of God everywhere,

This prayer, this surrender, is the choice to accept all others without exception—ALL OTHERS—and even to accept them in their imperfect, mortal condition. If you are successful in this, you will reach nirbija samadhi. It is taught that nirbija follows sabija. This is due to the fact that we improve in our degree of surrender over time. Sadhana is a process, so there is a sequence.

III:26    To Rudra, God in the form of the Power to Face Fear, I surrender.  Let this surrender reach all scary others.

The depth of surrender we need to reach liberation is expressed in this prayer. To finalize the prayer, we surrender to the Power to Face Fear because we know we have fear and that it can limit our surrender, and we wish to achieve unconditional love, to surrender to everyone without limit. So we are sending notice—we are going to accept everyone whether they accept us or not.

We must ultimately accept all others.
We must come to love everyone unconditionally.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

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Pashupata Sutram, III:10-19

By getting misunderstood, ignored or insulted and not responding to it, you burn away negative karma and acquire good karma—it’s like money in the bank.

The Teachings of the Immortal, Lord Lakulisha,
Twenty-Eighth Incarnation of Lord Shiva.

PPS Warning

The context of these sutras is an Eastern culture two-thousand years ago, and the yoga sadhana of Pashupati, the purpose of which is liberation.

III:10    On account of that,

Because this happens …

This sutra is referring to the previous sutras, sutras 1-9, where we were made aware of a certain Principle we could utilize to neutralize our negative karma.

III:11    One goes about like a ghost.

“Like a ghost”, or “like a dead person”.
You are seen as a poor, crazy or lowly person.

We could take this literally, or we could interpret it as being dead, or invisible to a society that would deny one’s existence in general. In the culture in which these sutras were given, sadhus smear the body with ashes, wander in public unkempt with long nails and hair, dissociated from the social norm, in order to fulfill this practice.

III:12    Sleeping…

“Sleeping observance”.
People think you are a slothful, indolent and good-for-nothing person.

Now we begin to see a list of observances, or practices. (Notice the “or” in these sutras.) We can either look at them as willful practices, techniques that are applied when going about in the village, or we can see them as opportunities that may arise where we can apply the Principle. The difference is in one’s orientation. For example…

Your orientation is surrender: You unintentionally fall asleep in a public place, or slip into a meditative state while riding the bus, and others, believing you are sleeping, make fun of you.

Your orientation is technique: You go into the village and pretend to fall asleep. You fake loud snoring and even behave strangely as if having a bad dream. Believing you are sleeping, people insult you and make fun of you.

These practices do not replace one’s sadhana, but are supplementary to it.

III:13    Or trembling,

“Trembling observance”. Shaking, quaking, twitching, shivering, spastic.
People think you are crazy.

III:14    Or limping,

“Limping observance”. Lame, crippled.
People think you are disabled.

III:15    Or wooing.

“Amorous observance”. Flirting, acting attracted to the opposite sex, exhibiting loss of self-control.
People think you are a pleasure-seeker, lecherous and indecent.

III:16    Acting like that
III:17    [And] speaking like that
III:18    Causes you to get a period of being insulted, humiliated, held in contempt, disgraced or disregarded.

Traditionally, a person with any of these defects would not be initiated. Seeing you acting in these ways, because people would assume that you do not have the karma to qualify, you would be deemed unworthy of their respect and treated accordingly.

III:19    Because of being disregarded or insulted, over time you become skilled in tapas.

Tapas refers to the burning away of impurities, in this case, the burning away of one’s negative karma. Ridding oneself of negative karma and acquiring good karma is useful in that it is money in the bank, so to speak. It allows for you to be able to acquire the best conditions for completing sadhana and reaching the aim of moksha, liberation. Also, in Pashupat Shaivism, Divine Body, immortality, is recognized as an effect of success.

° ° °

These sutras have been interpreted as willful practices for several centuries. Most of you who know me already know that I do not take them this way, but simply as things that present themselves in life that can be turned to advantage. I have told my shaktipat initiates that, when they are not in the meditation room, they will be using their will anyway so they may as well use it for supplementary practices, such as asana, etc., that are supportive to their sadhana. It is in this spirit that the practices mentioned in these sutras are meant.

According to Kaundinya, these teachings, which are based on the law of cause and effect, are deliberate techniques for the purpose of attracting insult—you get the good karma of others who insult or abuse you, which in turn gives them your bad karma. If this is true, if it really works this way, we should note a lesson here: It works both ways—when you hurt, insult, abuse or humiliate someone, you are giving them your good karma and getting their bad karma. Something to think about, isn’t it?

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

P.S. If you find all this a bit hard to swallow, reading the previous sutras should clear things up.

Remote Shaktipat Diksha

Ten Keys to Success
Practice these 10 spiritual principles for guaranteed success. An online course, free to my blog Followers.